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Parents Divided on Mask Requirements in Oxford Schools

Two online petitions are making the rounds among the parents of children who attend Oxford schools – one in favor of making face masks optional when school begins and one making them required.

The Oxford School District Board of Trustees is expected to vote on its Return to Learn back-to-school plan tonight during its regular meeting at 5 p.m.

Tonight’s OSD Board meeting will be in the Oxford Middle School Lecture Center and will be streamed online via the NFHS Network. If there are connectivity issues with NFHS, the district announced last week it will post a Zoom link on its social media pages at the start of the meeting.

Last week, the plan was presented for review to the board and sent via email to parents to provide input and feedback. In the plan, it states that face masks will be optional.

However, due to rising COVID-19 cases in Mississippi, some parents are asking the district to make masks mandatory.

At 1 p.m. today, the petition to make masks optional garnered 700 signatures while the petition to make masks mandatory garnered 285 signatures.

On Thursday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all children older than 2 years old wear masks in school, and the Mississippi State Department of Health released guidelines that state masks should be worn indoors in school settings by all individuals age 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated.

Only children 12 and up can receive the vaccination.

The petition to make masks optional states that parents should have the right to make the decision for their children.

“Having masks mandated for this upcoming school year, for teachers and students, will have a negative effect on education and teaching just as it did this past school year,” the petition states.

Lafayette County School District approved its back-to-school plan recently that makes masks optional.

According to the MSDH, the number of children 19 and under being hospitalized due to the Delta variant of COVID-19 has risen to 5 to 8 percent in June and July, up from 1 to 2 percent in June and July 2020.

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